Tag Archives: film reviews

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The Lighthouse:
A Review

1,306 words

What is the difference between a “psychological” horror movie and all the other kinds of horror movies? Probably in how slow-paced and bizarre the director is willing to make his final product. The Lighthouse, directed by Robert Eggers and featuring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattison, is a tall, creaking, alien edifice of the bizarre. And as with many a good psychological thriller, The Lighthouse offers several levels of exquisitely-rendered weirdness and forces the audience to figure out which level it’s on at any given point. Read more …

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First They Came for John Demjanjuk . . .

2,778 words

The Devil Next Door (2019)
Directed by Yossi Bloch & Daniel Sivan

. . . but I wasn’t a Ukrainian accused of being a Nazi prison guard, so I did not speak out. In the 1980s, John Demjanjuk (1920–2012) was a retired auto worker living near Cleveland, Ohio who was accused of having been an exceptionally cruel SS prison guard called “Ivan the Terrible” by prison inmates at the Treblinka death camp in Poland. Read more …

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Norwegian Disaster Movies:
Fictional & Actual

3,390 words

What is it about disaster movies that we find so fascinating? In real life we do everything we possibly can to avoid being in a disaster, yet we can happily spend an hour or two watching people suffering in the most horrific situations on a screen. But this is also the very reason we love a good disaster movie: They remind us that we live in a broken, fallen world. Some disasters we bring on ourselves, some are inflicted on us by others, and others are what used to be called “acts of God.” Read more …

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“Roy, We Hardly Knew Ye”:
Roy Cohn & the Secret History of America

2,918 words

Where’s My Roy Cohn?
Directed by Matt Tyrnauer
Interviews and archival footage of Ken Auletta, Roy M. Cohn, Joseph McCarthy, Anne Roiphe, Steve Rubell, Roger Stone, Donald Trump, & Barbara Walters

“I bring out the worst in my enemies and that’s how I get them to defeat themselves.” — Roy Cohn

Read more …

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Flying Phantom Ship Asks Cui Bono?

2,433 words

The prolific manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori (1938-1998) spent his formative years in the Second World War and its immediate aftermath. At just 16, he published his first manga, and at 18 he became an assistant to the “God of Manga,” Osamu Tezuka, where he worked on Tetsuwan Atom (Astro Boy). He was likely influenced by Tezuka’s desire to help heal Japan after the war, with the latter’s Astro Boy personifying atomic energy’s non-destructive potential. Read more …

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I am Mother

1,618 words

How do you break into Hollywood? Director Grant Sputore and writer Michael Lloyd Green might have a few tips for you in their first full-length feature film for Netflix. Released in 2019, their debut, I am Mother, does all it can to please the Hollywood elite and bring a warm glow of smug satisfaction into the bleeding hearts of their old college professors.

It takes a man to write a great feminist movie, and with their all-female cast, these two guys lay it on twice as thick. Read more …

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Imitation of Life & an Imitation of Imitation of Life

4,134 words

We live an age where no one wants to be white if they can help it. That’s why you have honkies like Robert “Beto” O’Rourke pretending be Hispanic, Shaun King pretending to be black, and Elizabeth Warren pretending to be Native American. But it was not so long ago when the opposite was true, and it was non-whites who, if possible, tried to pass themselves off as whites. Imitation of Life is a movie about the latter. Read more …

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Roger Waters’ Us + Them

1,670 words

I gotta admit that I’m a little bit confused.
Sometimes it seems to me as if I’m just being used.

–“Dogs,” Animals, Pink Floyd (1977)

In this documentary, Roger Waters constantly struts about the stage like an aged and anorexic Richard Gere, his spindly arms held defiantly aloft in a clichéd clenched-fist salute of solidarity with the people. Read more …

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The Great Alaskan Race

1,501 words

It’s always nice when a film presupposes that empathy is a universal human trait. Films that do this rarely go much beyond being merely nice, however. They tend to cling to their PG rating and their predictable story arcs until the obligatory uplifting ending. There is good in all of us, and if we’re just honest with ourselves and God, redemption can appear almost like a present at Christmas. Read more …

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Rambo: Last Blood

3,590 words

Have you ever wanted to watch a movie where a 72-year-old man engages in gratuitous violence against racially-defined enemies? Rambo: Last Blood delivers. In this world of remakes, reboots, and endless installments of cash-cow franchises, Rambo: Last Blood is refreshingly current and lucid, even if it is a product of its time and rehashing culture.

Now, when I say current and lucid, I’m not gonna say fresh. The film is an Irish stew of plot devices that is surprisingly nourishing. Read more …

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Memory: The Origins of Alien

2,076 words

Director Alexandre O. Philippe has followed up his 2017 documentary on the shower scene in Psycho (78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene) with Memory: The Origins of Alien, a documentary on the creation of Alien that attempts to chart the film’s wide-ranging influences and explore its mythic resonance. The result is an underwhelming muddle that lacks direction and often retreads old ground, particularly in an overlong segment on the chestburster scene. Read more …

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Blade Runner 2049: White Slavery

3,496 words

Blade Runner 2049 is a deep and interesting film fueled by visual spectacle and cleverly-handled ambiguity. The film’s dialogue is sparse and carefully weighted, and the intricate plot resolves itself fairly satisfactorily (even though the film takes its sweet time getting there). Nonetheless, it fails to live up to its predecessor. It struggles to make headway with the theological commentary of the original – lines about Replicants being “angels” are unjustified, and are thankfully marginal. Read more …

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Travis Bickle, American Hero

2,254 words

Taxi Driver is the defining film for every bastard child of our times. How many men today can relate to Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), a fucked up, lonely loser trying to make rent and find love in a disgusting, criminal, and uncaring concrete hive? The guy is nuts, but who could blame him? Why would anybody be normal in the world he inhabits? His job is dumb, his apartment small, and his surroundings hostile. Read more …

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Six Degrees of Joe Turkel:
Paranoiac-Critical Reflections on Kubrick’s Paths of Glory

4,031 words

Paths of Glory (1957)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Written by Stanley Kubrick, Calder Willingham, & Jim Thompson (based on the novel by Humphrey Cobb)
Starring Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris,
Richard Anderson, Joe Turkel (as Joseph Turkel), Christiane Kubrick (as Susanne Christian), & Emile Meyer

Read more …

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Aquaman & the Revenge of God’s Chosen Fish People

2,858 words

Aquaman was perhaps the closest thing to a fulfillment of Kantbot’s promise that Trump would raise Thule, and Atlantis. In order to give Aquaman a saleable “mythic resonance,” it unavoidably has to draw on Greco-Roman mythology and showcase what is bemoaningly called White Male Power. Whilst a 2018 film, Aquaman seems to belong to the late ‘90s in its casting and racial attitudes, and the screenplay has all sorts of lines that describe an interplay of Aryan and Judaic values.

Read more …

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Once Upon a Time in Little Italy:
The Family Noir of House of Strangers

3,286 words

House of Strangers (1949)
Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Written by Philip Yordan (screenplay), Joseph L. Mankiewicz (rewrite, uncredited), & Jerome Weidman (novel)
Starring Edward G. Robinson, Susan Hayward, Richard Conte, & Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.

“As nasty a nest of vipers as ever you’re likely to see outside of a gangster picture or maybe a jungle film . . .”[1]

Read more …

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

1,120 words

Some of my best reviews are about Quentin Tarantino, but this won’t be one of them. Tarantino has gone from a director I loved (see my essay on Pulp Fiction), to a director I loved to hate (see my reviews of Kill Bill 1 and Inglourious Basterds), to a director I just hated (Django Unchained), to a director I just ignored.

Tarantino’s only great movie is Pulp Fiction, and at this point it is safe to declare that one a fluke. Read more …

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Neocons at the Aughts’ Box Office

2,724 words

Remember the 2000s?

It was a simpler time. For most of the decade, smartphones were non-existent. Twitter did not drive the news. People still bought CDs. Not every movie at the theater was based on a Marvel character. Jnco jeans (the horror!) were in style.

It was also the time when neoconservatism ruled the political landscape. It wasn’t just an ideology limited to Washington, DC; the media also pushed it. Read more …

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The Leopard

3,594 words

Luchino Visconti’s masterpiece is his 1963 historical epic The Leopard (Il Gattopardo, which actually refers to a smaller spotted wild cat, the serval, which is the heraldic animal of the princes of Salina in Sicily). Visconti’s film is a remarkably faithful adaptation of the 1958 novel of the same name by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. The Leopard became the best-selling Italian novel of all time, carrying off many critical laurels as well. Read more …

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Charles de Gaulle, Algeria, & the JQ

2,957 words

Today I wish to talk about Charles de Gaulle and some seldom-examined aspects of the Algerian Crisis that spanned 1954 to 1962. But in order to edge into all that, I first have to talk about one of my favorite and oft-viewed movies, The Day of the Jackal (1973; the original version).

De Gaulle himself is a character in that film, since the whole plot revolves around assassination attempts on him in the early 1960s. Read more …

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Blue Velvet: The Lost Footage

1,580 words

The Criterion Collection’s new Blu-ray of Blue Velvet contains 53 minutes of lost footage. Does this footage in any way alter my reading of the film’s psychological and political meaning? The short answer is no, but read on.

Blue Velvet was released as a two-hour film, but originally it was about two hours and fifty minutes long. The material Lynch removed is not raw footage that was never part of the film. Read more …

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

1,608 words

Unlike Inglorious Basterds (2009) and Django Unchained (2012), which were both drenched in violence against whites, Tarantino’s latest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is a surprisingly wholesome and pro-white film that pays homage to old Hollywood and white male movie stardom.

The main characters are washed-up actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double and driver, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Read more …

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Lords of Chaos: A Review

2,922 words

Lords of Chaos (2018)
Directed by Jonas Åkerlund
Starring Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, Jack Kilmer, & Sky Ferreira
Written by Dennis Magnusson & Jonas Åkerlund, based on the book by Michael Moynihan & Didrik Søderlind

The book Lords of Chaos by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind, and published by Feral House, is a masterpiece that everyone should read. The film, unfortunately, is not something everyone should see.

Read more …

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Agents & Agency in Naked Lunch

3,924 words

Quotes from the Naked Lunch film are unreferenced. Quotes from the text have a chapter reference, as page references are different between the various published editions and formats.

Naked Lunch is David Cronenberg’s 1991 adaptation of William Burroughs’ novel of the same name. It is likely as close to a direct adaptation of the novel as possible, given that Naked Lunch is a postmodern piece of fiction with many asides and no clear narrative structure. Read more …

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“Now it’s dark . . .”
David Lynch’s Blue Velvet

4,969 words

Jeffrey: I’m seeing something that was always hidden. I’m involved in a mystery. And it’s all secret.

Sandy: You like mysteries that much?

Jeffrey: Yeah. You’re a mystery. I like you. Very much.

Read more …

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A Huge Children’s Party: High-Rise

1,592 words

High-Rise (2015)
Directed by Ben Wheatley
Screenplay by Amy Jump, based on the novel by J. G. Ballard
Starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, & Elisabeth Moss

The numbers are never consistent, but there is a general consensus that given a complete, Venezuelan-style financial collapse and the subsequent loss of order and infrastructure, any Western society is just a few days from anarchy. Read more …

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Quiz Show

1,429 words

Robert Redford’s 1994 film Quiz Show tells the story of the Twenty-One game show scandal of the late 1950s. Featuring a superbly literate and psychologically subtle script and outstanding performances by Ralph Fiennes, Paul Scofield, John Turturro, and Rob Morrow, Quiz Show dramatizes important moral issues and explores the corrupting influence of television in American life.

Read more …

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Soporific Cinema

2,127 words

I like to fall asleep in front of the TV, and I’ve established a ritual for it. After a hard day of writing inspirational articles for Counter-Currents (under various pennames), I mix myself a drink that consists of vodka, soda water, lots of lime juice, and lots of ice. I thought I had invented this carb-less drink until, to my embarrassment, I discovered it already had a name: “The Skinny Bitch.” Apparently, it is also enjoyed by rail-thin rich bitches sitting poolside at the country club (like that mother on Arrested Development). Read more …

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Avengers: Endgame – Thanocaust Commemoration

2,605 words

Endgame is an undeniably popular film. Concluding a twenty-two film run of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies featuring home comic book names like Iron Man, Spiderman, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Endgame has the accumulated attention of multiple franchises supporting its monumental box office numbers. It is the largest-grossing superhero film of all time and is the capstone on the MCU cinematic project. Read more …

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Booksmart vs. Superbad

936 words

Superbad (2007) is not a great teen movie. The constant whining of the Jonah Hill character acts as a drag on the narrative. His selfishness, his braying voice, his chubby face, and his man-boobs test the viewer’s patience. But Superbad was good enough to have an impact in its time, and remains watchable. It has solid secondary characters, a compelling story, and enough social realism to remain of interest.

Now comes Booksmart (2019). Read more …

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